The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line’s (Transco) proposal to expand its natural gas pipeline by 308,500 Dth/d to serve growing markets in the southeastern region.

Service from the 85 North project will be available in two phases. Phase 1 will increase capacity by 90,000 Dth/d by the summer of 2010, while Phase II will hike capacity by 218,500 Dth/d by summer 2011. Construction on Phase 1 is expected to begin this fall, and Phase II construction is due to get under way next summer, according to the pipeline, a subsidiary of Tulsa-based Williams Cos.

“With volumes now ramping up at Transco’s two new pipeline interconnects at Station 85 [in Butler, AL], this project will connect these supplies to growing markets in the southeastern United States,” said Phil Wright, president of Williams’ natural gas pipeline business. “With the certificate now in hand, we will move forward with constructing this much-needed capacity.”

Transco proposes to construct three 42-inch diameter pipeline loops with a combined length of approximately 22.06 miles adjacent to its existing system in Alabama and South and North Carolina, as well as add a new 20,500 hp compressor station in Anderson County, SC, and modify eight existing compressor stations in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South and North Carolina.

It estimates that the 85 North project will cost approximately $248 million. Combined with its Mobile Bay South II project, the 85 North expansion creates over half a Bcf of takeaway capacity from Station 85 in west-central Alabama to downstream markets, according to Williams. It noted that the project is positioned to provide Transco customers with access to more than 3 Bcf/d of new domestic and liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies at Station 85 over the next few years.

The Transco pipeline is a 10,500-mile system that transports natural gas to markets throughout the Northeast and Southeast. The expansion will increase Transco’s total system capacity to approximately 8.5 Bcf/d.

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